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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa


Afrikaans name: Swartruggens


Swartruggens CBD

Photo © Johan van Zyl

North West

The small town of Swartruggens was founded in 1875 on the farms Scheepersrus and Brakfontein. It gets its name from the Dutch name of 'Zwartruggens' which means 'black ridges', which refers to the hills which surround the town.

Swartruggens is located in the north-eastern region of the North West province. It is 56 km from Rustenburg.

The town is principally there to serve farms in the area but there is mining that takes place as well. In 1932 diamonds were discovered in the area and there are still a handful of diamond mines that are operational.

There are a number of interesting places to visit in the area including Madikwe Game Reserve, Swartruggens Dam, the Ostrich farm at African Game and Art and Lindleyspoort Dam.

Those who are interested in military history can visit the site of the Battle of Elands River which took place between 4th and 16th August 1900. A large force of Boer soldiers attacked and laid siege to a garrison of mixed colonial soldiers. The garrison refused to surrender and were eventually relieved by Lord Kitcher with a 10,000 strong force.

Swartruggens old station

Above - The old station building is now used for coffee and tourist shops

Photo © Johan van Zyl

Hotel in Swartruggens

Above - One of the hotels

Photo © Johan van Zyl

Dutch Reformed Church, Swartruggens

Above - Dutch Reformed Church (1921)

Photo © Johan van Zyl

Reformed Church, Swartruggens

Above - Reformed Church (1933)

Photo © Johan van Zyl


References and further reading

Conolly's Guide to Southern Africa - Author: Denis Conolly - Year Published: 1982 - Page: 266

Country Life - Issue 178 - Author: - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 64

Farm Stall to Farm Stall - Author: Jennifer Stern - Year Published: 2014 - Page: 158

Farm Stall to Farm Stall - Author: Jennifer Stern - Year Published: 2014 - Page: 159

On Route - A region by region guide to South Africa - Author: B.P.J. Erasmus - Year Published: 1995 - Page: 220

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